Meet The Apollo Finalist
Single Store Category: Sunnyland Furniture, Dallas
-- Casual Living, 9/1/2008
For Sunnyland Furniture, business couldn't be better. David Schweig, who opened the store in 1977 with his wife, Debbie, said they are well on their way to another record year. What's their secret?
“Taking care of customers, having good inventory and having the right product mix,” Schweig said. “Just listen to your customers.”
Not only are Sunnyland employees able to listen to customers, they can also respond to them. Schweig said every employee is empowered to make decisions on their own, eliminating delays that occur when a salesperson must check with management before acting. The store's return policy is another asset. Customers can bring back merchandise after they've tried it at home and not be hassled by any strict policy. It's provided a big boost to his sales team.
“You can't mentally prepare to fight customers about returns all day long and still have a good enough disposition to deal with other customers,” Schweig said.
The retailer's efforts to please the customer on the service front fits with what it does with its merchandising. The store is designed to be fun for customers. Schweig said Sunnyland is essentially three stores in one, with a large, open showroom featuring categorized furniture and accessories, a 10,000-sq.-ft. showroom filled with lifestyle vignettes, and a 2,000-sq.-ft. “fantasy backyard,” with themes ranging from Italian villa to Polynesian beach.
Schweig said the lifestyle vignettes have earned raves from customers.
“It takes less imagination on their part to see how it would look in their own back yard,” said Schweig. “It also makes shopping here fun for them.”
As a result, the retailer draws customers from a 200-mile radius around its location in North Dallas.
“Every week we have [delivery] trucks going in different directions,” Schweig said.
And business continues to grow even as the U.S. economy tightens its grip on consumers.